Light Novel Review: Shurabara! Volume 3

Who Would Like this Series/Volume?


It’s still a rom-com. It’s still much fooling around and little drama. So if you want something light on the stomach without much impact but a bunch of cuteness, why not this one? (copypasta from volume 2 *tehepero*)

For: The ones looking for some light-hearted rom-com.

Difficulty


This volume has an ever so slightly increase in difficulty during Sanae’s, errr, duel arc. I’ll increase it by one point just in case.

Difficulty 4/10

Translation Where?


There’s no translation of volume 3 that I know of. You’d have to try and find some manga adaption and stomach that.

Translation: No for the light novel.

Contents


NOTE: These summaries can never give you an accurate impression on how the book reads or what the book is really like. It simply gives you the gist of the novel, but don’t judge the book by this alone. It can’t be helped that things read rushed and colorless in a summary. You can get an idea by reading the conclusion and, finally, by reading it yourself!

The Whole Damn Thing

We’re starting off where volume two ended: Saotome and Kazuhiro have been caught together by Sanae. The two of them try to save their asses by telling her that they’re just friends. And so Sanae asks her bodyguards: is it normal for classmates of different gender being this close? Luckily, two of them had attended a boys-only school while the last studied abroad in the US. And so they managed to dodge the bullet.

Still, things seem to get more complicated. Plus, there are two things that still have to be settled: Takana will come visit Kazuhiro at his workplace, and Sanae wants him to visit her at home. Saotome wants to help him out, but he refuses as he knows that she’ll be busy as it is already with her voice recordings.

The perspective switches to Takana. Her karate club practice is over and Momono wants to go on a date with her – and gets shot down. However, Takana asks her whether she knows about the maid cafés in the area. Apparently, there’s only one close and so she decides to go there. But, of course, Momono isn’t going to just tell her where it is, they’ll have to go there together.

Once they’ve arrive at their destination, she’s surprised by how much more appealing it looks than she had anticipated. They’re welcomed by a girl in a butler uniform (that’s the motto of the day) and accompanied to their seats. Then a girl approaches them to take their orders – it’s Sanae. Takana tells Sanae that she just wanted to visit the workplace her childhood friend works him. And Sanae knows that Takana’s boyfriend (well, “boyfriend”) is her childhood friend. Takana also tells her, that they made a promise in the past to marry each other. From there on out, Sanae’s acting pretty damn weird (because she realized various things). And then it dawns on Takana too: Kazuhiro is working in a maid café in the kitchen, Sanae said she’s together with a boy from work. Hence, she decides to ask Sanae how many boys are working there. The answer? Just the one in the kitchen. Oh oh.

Now Takana thinks that she coerced Kazuhiro into being her fake boyfriend while he’s actually together with Sanae. And Sanae thinks pretty much the same thing but the other way around. In the meantime, Saotome calls the other two girls and wants them to meet them as soon as possible.

After work, Sanae goes to visit Kazuhiro in the kitchen. While he’s full of regret that he let various right moments to let her know that they’re in a fake relationship pass, Sanae asks weird questions about how he’s valuing promises. For instance, when you’re making two promises that you can’t see through both, which one’s the more important one? The former? The latter? When Kazuhiro makes sure once again that they’re only fake lovers, Sanae gets nervous and states that this is all connected to him visiting her house. However, Kazuhiro can’t promise her that he’ll be able to come around, but apparently Shizuka’s got something important to discuss with him. He understands that it’s important for Sanae too, but wants to see it through as fast as possible then – ’cause who knows what kinda double booking might occur otherwise.

The next day, Sanae and Takana meet on their way to the café where they’re supposed to meet up with Saotome and, of course, the mood’s hella awkward. Saotome arrives late due to her busy schedule with the recordings and soon after her arrival drops the bomb: she admits that Kazuhiro and she are just fake lovers… and pretty much gets everyone else to admit the same. They agree to keep their newly acquired knowledge from him and support each other in times of fake boyfriend needs. Though everyone hints quite obviously that they’d rather have him for themselves.

When Saotome’s back in school after her recording marathon, she put in a huge effort to be able to give Kazuhiro an extraordinary bento. The whole class(‘ boys) envies him; they can’t go to the roof since it’s rainy season. They settled with telling everyone she had a cold and Kazuhiro had taken care of her – the bento’s the reward. However, Saotome keeps adding quite the steamy details about the (imaginary) caretaking. After school, Kazuhiro and Saotome go to a café to have a talk, he’s also worried about her since her busy schedule’s not suited for complex bento preparations. But she assures him that she’ll be alright and future bentos wouldn’t be as demanding. Then they talk about her gravure photoshoot (did I write that right?), and upon his statement that if he was her real boyfriend, it’d feel like she wasn’t just his girlfriend anymore, she wants him to come to her place. Under the pretext that they said he was nursing her and the secret’d leak if he doesn’t know her place.

Later that day, while Kazuhiro ponders what to eat for dinner, he gets a call from a maid at Sanae’s, Dan. Yes, Dan. As Sanae can’t use (or rather touch) the phone, she tells him in her stead that he’s being invited to join them at their villa on Sunday.

Next, Takana’s on the door, in her best wardrobe. Her parents invited Kazuhiro to join them for dinner, and so he walks over to take them up on the offer. On the virtual five meters up there, Takana insists that they share an umbrella. You may picture the rest.

Takana’s parents, of course, hint a lot that the two of them are so close yadayada. By the way, her mum walks around in a classic sailor uniform, to spice up their marriage. Welp. It also turns out that Takana’s afraid of ghosts, might be important later on. Of course, that’s a secret between the two of them. At some point, her dad gets drunk and doesn’t want to hand his daughter to Kazuhiro (not like he asked him to) or anyone without a fight, she counters that she’ll marry him by force then. The whole thing’s not taken seriously.

After dinner’s over, she asks him to go out shopping with her on Sunday. But psyche! He’s already busy then. With stuff. And Takana readily buys the story. Such weird.

And it’s Sunday. Kazuhiro’s (all dressed up and with a bouquet to give Sanae) taken to the mansion by car, driven by the maid, Dan, who apparently only is a maid ’cause she dreamed to be sexually abused. Anyway, their property is huge and the villa’s on a hill. The villa’s huge too, we should know the super rich ojou-sama drill by now. The point why Kazuhiro’s asked to come along was that there’s an influential person in the company which doesn’t approve of him as Sanae’s girlfriend and he needs to actually fight him. Literally. Martial arts style. There’s also a bunch of hints that Sanae’s into Kazuhiro for real, but he shrugs them off as a fake relationship act.

Back home, Takana’s alreading barging into the house before he knows it and, again, readily believes the excuses he throws at her regarding the car that took him and brought him back home. He asks her to train him some more regarding martial arts, and after a bunch of questions why he would like that, she readily believes his pretense. However, she first wants him to help her picking clothes, so they go to her room, sit really close to each other (dokidoki), and go through the fashion mag. In the end, all the stuff she suggests doesn’t really fit her type. Reason being, as he also tells her, that she’s rather short and her boobies huge. Managing to evade a strike of her iron fist, he’s able to calm her down and recommends her an outfit which actually isn’t much different from what she’s wearing currently.

And then the training starts. After turning Takana’s offer to strike the guy down herself down, they settle for him to become able to read the enemy’s movement to an extent that allows him to run one very effective counter – or die trying. First, she’s changing. In a spot where Kazuhiro, even if he turns around, can see her through a mirror. Anyway, she’s changing into some really tight clothes, that emphasize her boobage even more and so it begins. As he can’t see the minute changes in Takana’s muscles before she hits, she pulls up her already tiny shirt more and tells him to touch her belly to be able to feel the changes on her ABS. While Kazuhiro feels around almost touching her underboobs, Takana breaks down from stimulation before long. They crash onto the bed in a suggestive position that, of course, doesn’t last long. They (or rather Takana) decides, that this training would continue the whole week right after school – no detours!

The next day, with his muscles aching immensely, Kazuhiro’s gulled by Saotome again who insists in front of the class to go make dinner for him later. However, he insists that they just buy some bread and go to the roof, no matter if it’s hot as hell outside. Arriving there, he can finally explain the situation to her. But Kazuhiro still has a favor to ask of her, he wants her to make him into a gentleman. Or rather, to teach him how to be the guy that Sanae and company expect him to be. Last time, they had been able to communicate wirelessly, but this time around it’d be impossible. And so she agrees to teach him a bit of acting stuff, ’cause in the end his relationship with Sanae’s nothing but an act. An act, he shan’t forget that! Never! Ever! She kinda stresses that.

And so Saotome pretends to be Sanae and they do a test run which eventually leads to Saotome losing herself and almost kissing Kazuhiro. During said act, a thing he had to do was to describe what’s lovely about Sanae. After the act, Saotome wants him to do the same thing again, but with her now. It’s basically coming down to him liking how she’s a very interesting person and beauty. Interesting as in, only he knows her true colors. She’s really happy about that and trying hard to not let it show.

On Saturday, the girls have another of their meetings during which Saotome and Takana see an opportunity to somehow push Sanae out of her justification to have a fake relationship with Kazuhiro, and so they team up naturally and go for it. However, while everyone understands what’s really going on but try to talk in a roundabout fashion nonetheless, the plan fails and they’re back at square one. The only result’s that Sanae knows that they know about what’s gonna happen the day after, since Kazuhiro got them all involved in one way or another. So this time around, the meeting was more of a stare-down.

Sunday. Kazuhiro’s on his way to Sanae in a limo – with a “real” driver this time. He there meets said uncle whose name I don’t care about, and of course Sanae and Shizuka. The uncle turns out to be a douchebag who’s not really part of the “main family.”

And right in the middle of things, Kazuhiro steps up the uncle since he keeps badmouthing Sanae and Shizuka. ‘Cause as he’s learned from Saotome, proper etiquette isn’t just nodding off everything, but also standing up for… well, things. Whatever, flashback time. One day when Saotome and Kazuhiro were having their training, he thanked her for helping him out. She, however, regrets that she can’t help on the day itself, but is assured by Kazuhiro that what she’s doing is more than enough and she should prioritize her busy work schedule here now. Saotome has another revelation on how much she likes Kazuhiro and tells him that she’ll cast a small charm on him for tomorrow – she attempts to kiss him. However, with his sharpened reflexes, he blocks the kiss with his hand. Thinking she got rejected, Saotome’s close to tears, but even though she says a kiss would’ve been alright with her, he states that at some point kissing might not be that big a deal anymore, but the first kiss is a once-in-a-lifetime thing (no shit, Sherlock) and it shouldn’t just be affect based.

Anyways, the karate fight’s on. But of course the uncle refuses to fight personally, he lets one of his bodyguards fight in his stead, because his employees are “part of his power.” Kazuhiro manages to strike the first hit, which means one round one by tournament rules (?) and they agreed on only performing one round – to uncle’s dismay. But wait, there’s more! Now Kazuhiro has to prove his, errr, knowledge in the fine arts? Beats me. However that may be, he has to guess the origin of a painting. Since he’s prepared, he guesses right, but for round 3, he has to guess which of the two “identical” paintings is a fake. Let’s ignore the irony of him having to point out a fake, he’s not knowledgeable enough to do it. But he refuses to have the douche win and tries hard. In the end, Sanae comes to his aid and tells him the solution, justifying it by her being part of his power, too. Uncle’s head grows beet red and he stomps off. The three remaining peeps have some tea and a normal conversation, more or less, in which there are various hints of Sanae’s true affection yet again (“Whatever you say, Kazuhiro was love at first sight to me”).

In the evening, Kazuhiro lets himself get dropped off by the limo somewhere near his house, but not quite in front of it – he wants to relax as soon as possible. Pretty damn close but seemingly unnoticed by Kazuhiro, Sanae and Takana are having a chat there too, since Takana had been at Sanae’s to back up Kazuhiro in case the uncle tried something funny and has been taken home by Sanae’s perverted maid. Sanae accompanied them so that she can intrude on Takana and not let her be alone with Kazuhiro (sneaky); of course she’s not clearly stating that. Out of the dark, a girl in goth loli clothes and with a parasol approaches Kazuhiro. She introduces herself as “Mysterious Beauty X” (one kanji too much for the series “Mysterious Girlfriend X”‘s Japanese title), and Sanae plus Takana finally recognize Kazuhiro – and the girl. They call out to her (“Saotome-san?”) while she attempts to kiss Kazuhiro.

Conclusion


Volume 3 Cover

While the “conclusion” for volume 2 was rather on the short side, it’ll probably be longer this time. I wanna start off with a little bit of an excursion. Usually, a light novel series starts off with the three volumes (o’rly?). There is a “0th” step too, where authors write so-called one-shots as sort of a proof of concept to show the publisher that their rough idea’d be reasonably popular. Those are rather short and a bunch of them are put into a publication while asking the readers to name favorite three stories out of them. People get shortstories, publisher gets evaluation, authors get a chance. Win, win, win. There are also whole-volume one-shots, I’d say mostly by popular authors who just wanna try out stuff, I’m not really interested in that kinda thing anyway. Once a series has been greenlit for serialization (shortcut = editor loves the idea and wants to do it right away or author is a popular guy like OreImo‘s and starts something new), the author plans out three volumes. Volume three should then have two versions, one wrapping it up, another continuing the story in case of success.

And here we go, volume 3 of Shurabara! I can’t really go on without spoilers, you’ve been warned.

So the girls slowly figure out that Kazuhiro is three-timing them, each for the same reason respectively. That’s quite the bomb to drop in the third volume already, but taking the above into consideration, this is probably how the series was supposed to end if it lacked success. At first, the big deal was that only Kazuhiro and Saotome knew about the three-timing and the girls didn’t have too< much to do with each other. Now the big idea behind it is meant to be “the girls know that Kazuhiro’s three-timing, but he doesn’t know that they know.” Huh. I can actually live with that. It’s still got potential.

Takana’s on the cover, what’s the story about? It’s actually a Sanae story! Surprise. But that aside, Sanae doesn’t really get more color. However, Takana’s family is introduced, so point for Takana. But aside from the family thing, her character remains gray in my opinion. It’s no secret that she’s into Kazuhiro after all, and most of the stuff amounts to her trying to make a move on him, kinda. No revelations at all. Think about it, so far the only heroine that has something you could call “depth” is Saotome, who is the first one that appeared in the series and by romantic-comedy laws the one who’s bound to “win.” Please make it less obvious, Mr. Author.

While it all moves towards the duel at Sanae’s, she’s got the least screentime and overall feels neglected compared to the others. But Takan’s on the cover and although the finale’s Sanae’s, she’s got the most screentime, so let’s forgive this small issue.

I’ll try to be more precise, I disliked the “finish” the whole volume headed to, but I liked the way up there. All the girls are incorporated in helping Kazuhiro somehow navigating the big mess and while they know what’s going on, Kazuhiro only knows half of it and still tip-toes around the whole three-timing matter. The tables have turned, so to say. I liked that. And now that all the girls know the competition that’s going on, they’re getting somewhat more proactive. I like that also. Good one.

The pacing’s okay. Alas, I’m already reading volume 4. In fact, I’m past the first half of it, and so I know the pacing that’s to come. So yeah, the pacing’s okay. In comparison. Don’t wanna complain. Anymore.

All in one, this volume’s missing two things: an interesting finale and impact. It’s interesting, but not great. And coming back again to the pace matter after all, the characters take too god damn long to realize things. Either the author really wants to effing spell things out or everyone’s slow in the head; your choice.

Nonetheless, this volume deserves a 7. It’s better than 6, since more interesting stuff’s going on that also matters, but for an 8 it’s lacking the spice.

Rating 7/10

 

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2 thoughts on “Light Novel Review: Shurabara! Volume 3

  1. If you could read Oreshura and tell us the finale, it would be great. Thanks.
    Just saying, please dont feel it is a obligation

    • First of all, I’m reading and writing reviews, not reading TO write reviews.

      Second, while I do like “OreShura” I dropped it around volume 5, if I remember correctly, since my Japanese wasn’t up to it at that time and the translation wasn’t to my liking. I like reading from start to end in chronological order and not the other way around, hence I’d start from where I left off anyway, meaning lots of waiting time even if I start reading it.

      Third, I only own volumes 5 & 6, so I’d first have to buy stuff past that.

      以上。

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